Snapshots and Shared Joys

Some snapshots of recent joys shared here at Hogar de Vida.

The older kids had a fiesta day complete with barrel-bull riding and championship  slip ‘n’ sliding.  The riding rules had to be amended because Elijah was so good at holding on that he  dismantled the “bull” when he was finally shaken loose.

The younger kids had a piñata party and really taught us how to swing a stick.

The Lifegate team is here and is painting, praying, and loving up a storm.  It is such a blessing to spend these days with them.  Note to self: catch up on laundry and cook up some freezer meals before picking them up at the airport in the future, because you won’t want to miss any of it.

Sometimes the team members got painted themselves.

Kris was able to spend two mornings in the central kitchen learning to cook like a Tica and, even better, spending quality time with Vanessa and Oralia.   Vanessa handles lunches and dinners for the 50 + children and staff at Hogar each day.  Oralia and her husband Sebastian direct the Hogar de Vida in Guatemala.  Her visit to Costa Rica is a special treat to celebrate Dena’s 50th birthday and learn new ideas for managing a home of energetic children.

Another trek to the waterfall.

The sweetest reward for studying Spanish:  I was able to have my first conversation in Spanish with Oralia, who has been silently dear to me since our first global journey back in 2006.

More time with Cherie, our friend and mentor in all things “Tico!”  Also, a fun dinner with two wonderful missionary families who live here.  They were kind enough to let us tour their homes and glean from their experience while our kids romped together.  What a blessing to have friends in many countries.  When they wished we were coming down sooner,  we jokingly asked them to head the committee for praying in our financial support early.

The Mango Crew.  These fearless children picked up three wheelbarrows of fallen, yucky, buggy mangoes, making the campus a nicer looking (and smelling) place to be.  I’m so proud of them.

Leaf cutter ants munching away an entire bush in one day.  We were amazed to hear the soft crinkling sound of their busy harvesting and see the 4″ wide highway they cleared through the grass to take the clippings back to their hill.

Time has been passing quickly by, and it’s hard to grasp that we fly back to the states in less than a week.  I begin to understand the roots that we’ve planted in this trip by the resistance my heart feels towards leaving.  I pray that they are well-tended and flourish in the next year so that blossoms are ready to burst forth when we return in a year.  We are ready to take the next step.

Kris’ Thoughts

The Lord has had me in Romans 12, considering the value of each individual part of the body of Christ. This has been sweet to me as I spent the last few days setting up our cabin and working out our game plan of what to make for breakfast and dinners. Lunch is made for us by the Tias, and far outstrips what I can do with rice and beans. We can’t tell them enough “La almuerza estaba muy rica!” (The lunch was really good!) Given that they are spoiling us at midday, I decided to cook North American for dinners. Shopping at the supermercado was so much fun for me! Trying to figure out which Pasta de Tomate is actually what we would call tomato paste (it’s the one that’s labelled Concentrada) and how to buy meat from the man behind the counter. I sent Matt to do that and then quizzed him later–Dos kilos de hamberguesa, por favor. (Four pounds of hamburger, please.) They keep it all fresh and package it to order. The kids had fun picking out jello, cookies, and chocolate with Matt, too, while I scouted the aisles to look for things that I might use in my recipes. A far cry from my Excel spreadsheet grocery list diagramming the items I buy at Walmart by aisle location!

Eliana has had some rough spots today with her stomach. She is taking liquids and jello, and we are praying that the worst has passed through. We were giving her some soy milk that we think had lactose in it. There is some at the store that is lactose free, so we’ll try that soon. Over and over the Lord keeps pressing on my heart how precious my children are to me. Eliana has been such a trooper. Elijah misses the familiarity of home, but also loves to play with the kids here and his sister. The two of them are like peas and carrots. He is doing a great job with the cabin and changes in most areas, and is beginning to use a few Spanish words here and there.

And as I look at our three days here so far, they have not seemed very spiritual. Cooking four pounds of hamburger and freezing it in portions to make future dinners is not very exciting. Yet I know that the Lord is pleased with our setting the foundation for our time here and he’s calling me to value my contribution as well, as an organizing-and-cooking-Mommy/Wife part of the body of Christ.